Sunday, January 11, 2009

winter's light ...

Winter's light slants in through my bedroom window, suffusing the walls and the room in a surreal golden glow. This is one of my favorite times of day in the winter, shortly before the sun ends her day's journey by dropping into the Pacific Ocean, lingering above the waves, then - with a flash! - dropping gently over the horizon.

I was recently donating blood at the nearby park and I looked east out the window as I was lying there. I gazed at the distinctive bark of the tree outside, really studying its peeling beauty, when suddenly the tree became bathed in gold from the west. The nurse was looking the opposite direction, out the front doors facing west and she dreamily said "I love this time of day ... the way the day turns to gold." I turned to look at her and her entire face and body were washed in light as she faced the sun's glow.


In the spring and summer, the sun sits high overhead and my entire courtyard is bright and sunny. In the fall, as the sun moves lower toward the equator, the angle is entirely different. The courtyard falls into shadow, blocked by the buildings, the sunlight too low now to rise above them.

Instead of bold, confident sunshine, we get this moodier, more nuanced light, a gift of winter that makes me pause and be still, be aware. The lower light hits the prisms hanging in the south-facing windows, throwing dancing colors around the rooms. The sun, too high in the summer, only dances the rainbows like this in fall and winter.

Spring and summer are often raucous affairs, with birds singing, flowers blooming, summer parties; everything wildly alive. But fall and winter are gentler, quieter, giving us pause for reflection ... a break from the liveliness of the other two seasons ... passive yin to active yang ... the duality of nature in perfect balance, inviting us to slow down and rest a bit, like all in nature does at this time. She is ever the perfect teacher.

Winter's light slants through my windows and I pause and give thanks.

12 comments:

dec0r8or said...

..beautiful sentiments, Rose. I love the sun's low light at this time of year too. I'm enjoying learning which window it will shine in next. This winter, I've discovered that taking a shower at 12:30 in the afternoon gives me all natural sunlight through my tiny shower window, and I don't need any electric supplement. Somehow, that just makes me happy! With the trees outside my window, it's almost like showering outdoors...

paintergal said...

Thanks for these thoughts, Rose.
I wouldn't have known that winter in California has a different mood/light than any other time of year. I just thought you had golden sunshine all the time. It's so cool to learn about other areas of the country.

mermaid said...

I am drawn to your insight and your gratitude. There is something sacred about the sun's last gift to us before she sleeps. It's as if she is reminding us that we too have our own inner lights even in the darkness.

rebecca said...

i've always loved to live in a region where there are changing of the seasons. spring is the birth of things to come, summer is the "life" of the seasons that brings much intensity, fall is the one that tenders the summer wounds, and finally winter, where we get to renew ourselves once again in the hibernation of it all.

lovely piece, rose. just lovely. and, like you state it so well, "passive yin to active yang....she is ever the perfect teacher."

namaste,
rebecca

Shell said...

Beautifully said. I could see the images just as you wrote them. Winter has a distinct beauty that I love.

dec0r8or said...

Hey Rose...shoot me an email. I have something for you! :)

Caroline said...

Rose, this is a wonderful post. Oh how it takes me back... I love the light in winter, especially in the afternoon. When I lived in the Midwest, this was my favorite part of the day...letting the room be filled with the luscious golden light. I must admit, it's not quite the same when you live in a warm climate...

Kat said...

Beautifully said Rose. Id love to be there sharing it with you.

Soov said...

What a wonderful blog to read this morning. Thank you Rose.

Amber said...

Rose, loved the way you described the sun setting. We watched the sun set at Venice Beach this time last year and it was EXACTLY as you describe...slow, slow and then GONE very quickly!

Cecilia said...

how do you add music to your blog??? I would love to know!

Lady Prism said...

So peaceful..